'King of Clay' Nadal returns to the throne in glorious swearing-in ceremony


The 'King of Clay' returned to his rightful place by decimating Stan Wawrinka to complete 'La Decima' in the most glorious of swearing-in ceremonies on a searing hot day in Paris.

Many questioned whether Rafael Nadal was a spent force amid injury woes and a loss of form, but the legendary Spaniard domineeringly demonstrated why he is one of the sporting greats by winning the French Open to make history on Sunday.

Nadal has been almost flawless throughout a magnificent fortnight at Roland Garros, where it seemed inevitable that he would become the first man to win the same grand slam 10 times in the Open Era.

He charged around Court Philippe Chatrier like a man on a mission in a one-sided showdown with a helpless Wawrinka, who looked bewildered as the tournament favourite ended a three-year wait for his 15th major title.

Nadal was every inch the king of the castle, dismissing three-time grand slam champion Wawrinka in devastating fashion to take his spot back on the throne.

Last year an emotional Nadal withdrew from the French Open due to injury, but 12 months later the imperious left-hander dropped to his favourite red surface with his head in his hands before clutching the Coupe des Mousquetaires like a newborn baby.

It is difficult to envisage how any of his rivals will be able to prise the famous trophy away from him if the 31-year-old can stay fully fit and maintain the incredibly high standards he has set on the red stuff this year.

Nadal celebrated his birthday last Saturday and eight days later the party can start belatedly after he dominated the second major of the year, not dropping a set and losing only 35 games in an astonishing exhibition.

Wawrinka described facing Nadal in a final on clay as probably the biggest challenge in tennis and the 2015 champion was tormented throughout a one-sided final, smashing his racket in a rage as he was totally outclassed in a one-sided contest that was over in just two hours and five minutes.

Nadal set the tone by charging into the net to swat away an overhead volley before holding to love in the first game, as expectant spectators wafted fans to try and stay cool.

His grunts grew louder with every winner, Wawrinka left startled by brutal forehands and backhands that drew gasps from an appreciative crowd who knew they were witnessing something special.

The floundering Swiss never recovered after netting a backhand on the run to go 4-2 ahead and there was a pump of the fist from a fired-up Nadal after he thudded away a volley to lead 5-2, before he unleashed a thunderous forehand winner that brought cries of amazement.

Wawrinka's fearsome backhand was not firing as it had in a marathon semi-final against Andy Murray two days earlier and although there were flashes of brilliance from the US Open champion, he was enduring a punishing afternoon in the heat.

A time violation warning for Nadal did anything but knock him out of his stride as he swarmed all over the ailing third seed, unleashing an outrageous forehand winner down the line while running to his left at full tilt during a second set that he commanded.

Wawrinka berated himself and left his racket mangled after Nadal toyed with him in a pulsating rally en route to opening up a two-set advantage.

An ailing Wawrinka jogged out with a spring in his step following an off-court break, but was back on the ropes after Nadal crunched a forehand winner to his left to break in the opening game of the third set.

The crowd got behind the champion of two years ago, but it was only a matter of time before the relentless Nadal put him out of his misery.

Nadal collapsed in a heap on his back as those fortunate to witness him make history in style rose to their feet to worship the king. They had certainly been royally entertained.